Published On: Sun, Dec 2nd, 2012

ODM Mashinani’ Proves Why ODM is the Party To Beat in Next General Elections

I am sure every Kenyan who reads newspapers, as well as those who listen to radio and/or watch television have seen something about a campaign by the Orange Democratic Party, called ‘ODM Mashinani’.

I have been involved in never-ending discussions about whether ODM Mashinani is just another campaign slogan so I would like to use this space to explain why ODM Mashinani is a distinctive campaign effort never seen before, and which no other party except ODM can pull off.

So what is ‘ODM Mashinani’?

First, ODM Mashinani directly translates to ‘ODM at the Grass-roots’. This is the party activating itself at the local levels and calling it’s ‘troops’ to ‘form up’ for the battle ahead; and the troops that the party is calling up are quite substantial.

Many know that ODM is currently the only party in Kenya that has a structure of elected officials that goes all the way from national level to the ward level. However what many might not know is that in addition to this mainstream structure ODM is again the only party with similar structures for women and youth. The Orange Young Democrats League (OYDL) and the Orange Women Democrats League (OWDL) are in essence two complete ‘parties’ running from national to ward level, with elected officials at each level, and each headed by a national chairman for each.


At local level each of the three sections of the party, i.e. main stream and the two leagues, have 20 elected officials. Considering that the average County has 7 constituencies, ODM therefore has at least 400 elected officials based locally in each County. The troops ODM is calling out are therefore these at least 400 officials, who the party is telling to step up to the plate and explain the policies and aspirations of the party they belong to, to their local neighborhoods; and into every nook and cranny in their village.


Second, ODM Mashinani is the ODM party showing that when it says it’s the only national party in Kenya today, it actually means it. Through ODM mashinani the party wants to show Kenyans that it is the only political organization in the country with enough presence in each county to pull off 47 events, simultaneously, successfully.

To prove this point two weekends ago when the party launched this campaign it held the same event in each and every one of the 47 Counties, at the same time! (12 noon). The party called upon its Ministers, MPs, aspirants for the various political offices at all levels, as well as ODM national, local and league officials and coordinators, to meet up at the respective county offices, and launch the campaign. These party officials then invited their friends, families and supporters, and in 47 locations across the country ODM held activities where people came to join the party, verify their membership status and/or learn about the need to register as a voter. They also used the opportunity to rally each other to register as voters in preparation for the next general election in 3 months. The events were successful in literally every County.

ODM Mashinani activities continue to happen every weekend since then, in each county, simultaneously. The reason I keep repeating the word ‘simultaneously’ is for emphasis because I am aware that every party can hold an event in every county in Kenya. However no other party so far has shown the capacity to hold an event in each county at the same time, except ODM. Every weekend it continues to project this political might and until some other party can do the same, ODM can justifiably exclusively own the tag ‘Kenya’s only national party’.

Third, ODM Mashinani is ODM’s way of explaining that it understands what ‘devolution’ means. ODM has devolved its campaigns to counties, on the basis that all politics is local. Each county’s leadership has then taken responsibility of building the party in their county, as well as mobilizing support for the party’s aspirants at each level below in the constituencies, wards and villages. Essentially this means that ODM now has 47 campaigns running simultaneously, competing with its rival parties in each county, and selling presidential aspirants Raila Odinga policies and the issues he stands for, county-per-county

Fourth; ODM Mashinani is proof that Prime Minister Raila Odinga is the only presidential aspirant able to draw supporters from across the country, in every county. Unlike some of his competitors who have hidden their disdain for some parts of Kenya (or what does G7 mean?), the mashinani campaign shows that every county matters to ODM.

Finally and on a personal basis I find this campaign quite exciting. It is the first time we are seeing a party run campaigns outside the presence of its presidential candidate. My challenge is to the other parties who claim they are national to show it, rather than just say it. In the meanwhile they should not wonder why ODM is the most popular party in Kenya.

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ODM Mashinani’ Proves Why ODM is the Party To Beat in Next General Elections
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